(urth) Catherine, Cyriaca and baby Severian

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Fri Oct 20 14:50:20 PDT 2006

bsharp quoted and wrote:
>>I think it would be rather strange that the torture and death of a woman
>>who looked just like the >maid who annually played Holy Katharine would
>>have gone unnoticed and unmentioned by >Severian and every other member of
>>the guild. Besides, the torturers buried their "clients in the >lower
>>reaches of the necropolis". The woman whose body was taken by Vodalus was
>>buried >higher up the hill, among the statuary.
>Apprentices routinely asked older journeymen about their parentage but were
>told little.  If Severian's mother had escaped from the torturers and then
>was returned 20 years later for execution  then we can be sure it would be
>kept secret, especially from Severian.  Severian doesn't recognize the
>in the coffin as a client.

Neither did he recognize her as the maid who played Holy Katharine, which he
could hardly have failed to do.

>Is Roy is arguing that the woman in the coffin isn't a torture client
>because of where she is buried?  Are we to think that Thecla was buried
>in the lower reaches of the necropolis?  Exultants were usually buried in
>private mausoleums.  Where would you bury an exultant who was missing for
>years then secretly tortured to death?  I think the upper level of the
>necropolis is a good compromise.

Exultants weren't usually buried in the necropolis at all. They were buried
on their private estates. Thus, there would not have existed any family plot
or mausoleum to bury her in on the hill.

>Cyriaca says she could be Severian's mother if she conceived him a year or
>two after it was possible.  If Agia is a few years younger than Severian
>then Cyriaca conceiving twins soon after leaving the Pelerines is in the
>proper time frame.  Cyriaca left the Pelerines because she wanted to be
>men so a pregnancy isn't surprising.

Agia said she was 23, which would make Severian about 25. If those ages are
correct, that would make Cyriaca about 40, if she wasn't lying.

>I willl take issue with this statement:
>>Early on, Severian said that his earliest recollection was of "piling
>>pebbles in the Old Yard." That >isn't true, and he knew it wasn't true
>>he wrote it.
>We know that Severian's memories are not actually perfect.  That may have
>been the earliest memory he had at that point in his life in the story.
>is able to add memories later in the story when properly stimulated (the
>mandragora and Thecla are very intrusive stimulations).

Severian's manuscript was not a daily journal or diary. He wrote it all ten
years after the events related in it. The nursing memory came to him on the
same night that Jolenta was wounded and Juturna paid him a visit in the
Cephissus river. The mandragora incident happened on his first night in the
Citadel after returning as autarch. He had already experienced both memories
ten years before he wrote the piling pebbles sentence.


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